While we despise the expression ‘saviour of pop’ (pop doesn’t need saving, dickheads, but your tired asses might), for the longest time – i.e. that rosy period between Lush Life and the following single – it felt like Zara Larsson could well be what the charts need. In the sense that not only did she bridge the gap between Twitter cool and mainstream, she did by navigating the line between Tove Lo‘s hedonism and that saccharine Swiftian taste.
If only that continued. So Good doesn’t have anything on it that’s as good as Lush Life, and there’s only just enough for Larsson to command the position of a devoted pop apostle at the very least. And like her biggest smash hit, Ain’t My Fault is another indication of how her style seems to be unfurling – initially the sirens jar, the scattergun sound unusual, but over every listen it increases in value. Larsson tries to pack the hooks throughout her album like a one-woman factory line, but they require the sort of acclimatisation that isn’t a luxury in the genre.
Weirdly, on songs like I Would Like her nearest comparison almost feels like Years & Years – she blends throwback club beats with a modern pop sensibility, the perfect springboard for one of her stadium-filling choruses. What jars is when she tries on a suit that doesn’t really fit, like the dancehall and R&B blend of the title track, Sundown, and Only You, which rotate between confidence and, er, self-pleasure, but ultimately leave a bitter taste.
As always with a too-much-too-soon pop act, there’s a great sense of having chucked everything at the wall in the hope that something would stick. So Good has a perfect EP in it somewhere, but it’s mired in run-of-the-mill crap like Don’t Let Me Be Yours and Make That Money Girl. And while she’s rescued by tracks like TG4M, the overarching problem with this album ends up being two-fold: the character Larsson has cast herself as seems very much a posture, and the performance she gives is neither overly original or convincing. So Good? So very disappointingly middling, sadly.